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Episode No. 10: Alan Terricciano, UCI Composer and Dance Professor (Part 2)   

Inspired by Instagram photos of Christ Cathedral, hauntingly beautiful, emptied because of the pandemic, Alan Terricciano (featured in Episode 9) composed Voices in a Quiet Cathedral for solo organ. With Alan as our guide, words from the

mind of the composer himself accompany our journey through this new work hearing the background story behind each moment of this stunningly serene music performed by our host David Ball on the gorgeous Walker Technical Organ at

Christ Cathedral. Also featuring Enceladus recorded in the legendary, spatial acoustic of St. Paul the Apostle Church, Lincoln Center, NYC.


Episode No. 9: Alan Terricciano, UCI Composer and Dance Professor      

Every music lover wishes they could go back in time and ask the great composers like Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven what inspired their music and the stories behind every piece. Today, we are lucky enough to ask exactly those questions of a

living composer, Alan Terricciano, Composer and Professor of Dance at University of California – Irvine. Listen to the composer himself not only introduce and describe his own music, but also improvise music off-the-cuff at the piano.

Discover the vast, emotional gamut of local composer Alan Terricciano’s music – from the playfulness of a hoedown for solo violin, to the spontaneous music improvised at a piano, and finally to the passionate work Ash in remembrance of

the events of 9/11 that brought the world together.


Episode No. 7: Everyone Dance!              

Join us for EVERYONE DANCE! Featuring guest organist Dr. Emma Whitten, Associate Director of Music and Organist at Mission San Luis Rey Parish in Oceanside, California, the largest of the 21 California

missions. Dr. Whitten just recently recorded a program for the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Guild of Organists consisting of organ music influenced by many forms of Dance, old and new.

As a complement to her Los Angeles performance, Sounds from the Sanctuary Host David Ball and Dr. Emma Whitten discuss the centuries-old relationship between dance forms and organ music, and even explore Dr. Whitten’s own

unique background of both math and music degrees.


When JSerra junior Hannah Weinmeister founded her nonprofit, Hannah’s Dancers, earlier this year, she had no idea the immediate impact it would make on so many young students. Hannah’s Dancers teaches a variety of dance forms — such as jazz, tap, and ballet — to children at the Via Positiva Branch of the Boy & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley. The tuition? Free-of-charge. 

At JSerra, Weinmeister is a student in the Arts Magnet Program and attends dance training 12 hours a week at the Pacific Ballet Conservatory, where she takes Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Modern, and Contemporary/Lyrical Dance. She is a member of the Pep Squad Dance Team as well as a wide variety of school clubs, including Girl Up, Paws for a Cause, Miracles for Kids, and Students Against Destructive Decisions clubs. Last but not least, she is a proud member of the Monarch Chapter of the National Charity League, which is a philanthropic organization comprised of mothers and daughters dedicated to serving and volunteering in their communities. 

It was joining the National Charity League as a 6th grader volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club and seeing an empty dance studio that first planted the seed in her mind. 

“I asked about it and was told that nobody was using it because there were no dance teachers to teach a dance program,” Weinmeister said. “I never forgot that.” 

At 15 while working at the Pacific Ballet Conservatory assistant teaching toddlers how to dance, Weinmeister shared her vision with her mother, Rhonda, who helped her kick her plan into action just one year later. Weinmeister contacted the Boys & Girls Club, which agreed to incorporate her dance program into their already robust summer activities program. In the meantime, Rhonda Weinmeister helped her daughter work with a graphic designer to create a logo and an attorney to file the paperwork required to form a nonprofit. In just a few weeks, they also created a web site and established social media accounts, and raised funds to purchase dance shoes, mobile glassless dance mirrors, and dancewear and costumes. 

This past summer over 80 children between the ages of 5-12 took part in weekly lessons with Hannah’s Dancers. Each enrolled student received a Hannah’s Dancers t-shirt and various fairy wings and tutus — not to mention each child was custom-fitted with a brand-new pair of dance shoes. 

“Every single child has thanked and hugged me,” said Weinmeister. “It’s been really evident how happy they are.” 

Weinmeister aspires to pursue a college degree at NYU for dance education. By doing so, she hopes to open a dance company focused on providing dance lessons to underprivileged youth. “I want to share my joy of dance with others and my biggest dream would be to offer it for free,” she said. 

“Watching the Hannah’s Dancers’ end-of-summer showcase was a proud moment for me as a dance teacher at JSerra,” said Dance Teacher Ann-Marie McClellan. “With the help of parents and a team of volunteers including sophomore Olivia Lau, Hannah Weinmeister has started a wonderful dance school. Their generosity gives kids the chance to dance who otherwise might never have had the opportunity.” 

Hannah’s Dancers’ teachers donate their time; moreover, 100% of all donations go directly to providing dance wear, shoes, lessons, and showcase opportunities to students. To make a donation, go to You can also follow Hannah’s Dancers on Twitter and Instagram. 


When Debbie Vallas, principal of Christ Cathedral Academy wanted to make use of the school’s magnificent Schuller-era dance studio, she knew just the right person to call. Susan Strader, philanthropist to many Diocesan endeavors as well as Orange County arts and culture organizations, agreed to help.


A large number of Christ Cathedral Academy students took advantage of the after-school programs at the school. Sports occupied most of the older students, but Vallas was looking for activities that would engage the younger students in a physical activity. Dance seemed to be right on point.

Strader went straight to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to get recommendations. The search led to Strader’s friend Doug Freeman, executive chair and CEO of OC Music and Dance in Irvine, a nonprofit which bills itself as Orange County’s premiere community performing arts school for artists, performers, and dreamers. The studio is committed to providing training to students, regardless of their ability to pay. This commitment dove-tailed well with Christ Cathedral Academy’s mission: “The teachers, staff and parents of Christ Cathedral Academy are dedicated to nurturing the whole child – spiritually, intellectually, academically, social-emotionally, physically, and creatively.”

The academy’s dance studio is no typical school gym-turned-multipurpose room facility. When Rev. Schuler built the school, he included a first-rate, 1,000- square-foot studio designed strictly for dance, and a separate 1,000-square-foot music room.

“Debbie wanted to use the space to enhance the after-school program to offer summer dance classes,” said Strader. “Eventually we were able to put together a great program that is also affordable for students in the Garden Grove area.” Although the program was originally conceived for dance, it seemed natural to include vocal training as well. Having a separate dance studio and music room allows for simultaneous classes, and more student participation.

That connection and eventual collaboration has led to an exciting new opportunity, not only for the Christ Cathedral Academy students, but the program is also open to students from all Catholic schools in Orange County. As soon as the summer program was announced, classes started filling up and the first recital was in early July.

Mr. Kwang Nguyen, known as Mr. Kwang, is the program director. “We started the program this summer with two-week, three-hour sessions that will continue until school begins. We expect it will continue as an after-school program during the regular school year.”

During the summer, students were introduced to a variety of dance styles including ballet, Hip Hop, Folklorico-a Mexican folk dance with ballet influences. In addition to dance, students will also receive vocal training. “We wanted to include a singing class to give students exposure to both song and dance—they’ll get both music and rhythm,” adds Mr. Kwang.

The program has proved so popular that it may be offered to older students. The cost for each two-week session is $75.

Right now, the school has three instructors with 10-12 students per instructor, or 30-36 students per session. More instructors can be added as the program grows. Mr. Kwang noted that it is not just girls who are interested in participating, a lot of boys have signed up too. “We even have some of our ‘jocks’ in the program.”

When the after-school program begins in the fall, the sessions will be shorter but offered every day. All students are invited to participate from Kindergarten to Eighth Grade.

“This has already become a very popular extra-curricular activity,” said Mr. Kwang, “I think if other O.C. Catholic Schools wish to set up a similar program through OC Music and Dance they can contact the company for more specifics.”

Mr. Kwang believes that this program may be a great fit for other Diocesan schools. He suggests that principals who want more information should contact OC Music & Dance to find out more about the program and how it is set up at Christ Cathedral Academy – or they can visit the school and see the program first hand.

Christ Cathedral Academy is located on the grounds of Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove. As such, it is the only Diocesan school in the county that is not affiliated with a local parish. It offers a preschool and K-8 education. The school also offers summer sports training in volleyball and basketball.